Posted by on February 18, 2015 - 12:28pm

A nationwide survey reported that more Americans are using mind and body approaches to improve health and well-being. Interest in yoga is particularly on the rise.   The 2012 survey, developed by the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the CDC, compared results with versions from 2002 and 2007.  Survey highlights:

Approximately 21 millions adults (nearly double the number from 2002) and 1.7 million children practice yoga.
Nearly 20 million adultw and 1.9 million children had chiropractic care.
Nearly 18 million adults and 927,000 children practiced meditation.
Children whose parents use a complementary health approach are more likely to use one as well.

The high rates of yoga are particularly interesting and may have been influenced by the growing number of yogo studios in the U.S.

To view more on this report, click HERE.

Posted by on October 28, 2011 - 7:42am

Yoga can relieve lower back pain, but it’s the stretching that helps, not the meditation. A new study found that yoga and regular stretching were equally effective at improving lower back pain symptoms, suggesting that the mindfulness promoted by yoga doesn’t do much for certain hurts.

More than 200 adults with lower back pain were randomly assigned to take yoga classes, stretching classes or to read a book about exercise and lifestyle changes. Both the yoga and stretching classes focused on strengthening the back and leg muscles.

After 12 weeks, people who did yoga or stretching were more likely to say their back pain was better, much better or completely gone compared with those who read the self-care book, researchers at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle found. Those who did yoga or stretching were also able to decrease their medications.

For people considering stretching or yoga to improve back pain, study author Karen Sherman said it’s important that the classes are therapeutically oriented, designed for beginners and led by instructors who can modify postures depending on individual physical limitations.

The findings were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. 

Posted by on November 1, 2010 - 2:22pm

According to new research conducted at Oregon Health & Science University, yoga exercises may have the power to combat fibromyalgia — a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain. The research is being published in the November 10 edition of the journal Pain and will appear online Thursday, Oct. 14.

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome predominantly characterized by muscle pain and fatigue. It can cause sleep problems and psychological stress. Other symptoms often include morning stiffness, tingling or numbness in the extremities, headaches, memory problems, difficulty with swallowing, and bowel and bladder problems.  Fibromyalgia affects between 11 million and 15 million Americans with 85-90% of the cases in women.  The cause of fibromyalgia is currently unknown, but it is believed that genetics and physical/emotional stress may play a role.

“Previous research suggests that the most successful treatment for fibromyalgia involves a combination of medications, physical exercise and development of coping skills,” said James Carson, Ph.D., a clinical health psychologist and an assistant professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. “Here, we specifically focused on yoga to determine whether it should be considered as a prescribed treatment and the extent to which it can be successful.”

In this study, researchers enrolled 53 female study subjects previously diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The women were randomly assigned to two research groups. The first group participated in an eight-week yoga program, which included gentle poses, meditation, breathing exercises and group discussions. The second group of women — the control group — received standard medication treatments for fibromyalgia.

Following completion of the yoga program, researchers assessed each study subject using questionnaires and physical tests. The results were then compared with testing results obtained prior to the yoga classes. The members of the control group underwent the same evaluations. In addition, each participant in the yoga group was urged to keep a daily diary to personally assess their condition throughout the entire program.

Comparison of the data for the two groups revealed that yoga appears to assist in combating a number of serious fibromyalgia symptoms, including pain, fatigue, stiffness, poor sleep, depression, poor memory, anxiety and poor balance. All of these improvements were shown to be not only statistically but also clinically significant, meaning the changes were large enough to have a practical impact on daily functioning. For example, pain was reduced in the yoga group by an average of 24 percent, fatigue by 30 percent and depression by 42 percent.

“One likely reason for the apparent success of this study therapy was the strong commitment shown by the study subjects. Attendance at the classes was good as was most participants’ willingness to practice yoga while at home,” added Carson. “Based on the results of this research, we strongly believe that further study of this potential therapy is warranted.”